Used 2006 Subaru Outback Consumer Reviews
The Subaru Outback XT Limited is a sports car masquerading as a family wagon. With the 250 hp turbocharged, intercooled 2.5 liter Boxer engine and 5 speed manual transmission, it is a car for people like me who like to drive. In spite of its high road clearance (about 8.5 inches) it corners very well, and few drivers will ever take this car to its limits of adhesion. Apart from the driveability, this model has a load of creature comforts, including heated seats and a nice stereo system.
I test drove this vehicle about 6-8 times comparing it to Audi, Lexus, Toyota, Acura, Nissan, BMW and each time the handling and "feel good" factor made the Outback the superior choice for me. My wife and I travel to the mountain states each year and can't wait to get into the Outback and put it through mountain roads at a good pace. We also have a Lexus RX 350 and we both barter to use the Subaru each week. If there is a hint of rain or severe weather, the Subaru is the automatic choice. Acceleration and the combined handling with the fuel economy is propelling this vehicle to compete with "all time favorite vehicle owned" for our house. A smart choice.
Handling, safety and stability are all as advertised. I waited until I had driven this car on unplowed back roads in a New England snowstorm to post this review, and I must say the car handled extremely confidently in conditions that I otherwise would have shied from in previous vehicles. There is a feeling of solidity while still retaining an edge of sportiness with this sedan, and because there are relatively few 4-door Outbacks out there, it is a unique driving experience. Although I would recommend this car, please be aware it is not without some mind-boggling minor design flaws that make one wonder what some of the engineers were thinking when they put the finishing touches on this baby.
My '06 2.5i Ltd. (118,000 mi.) blew its head gaskets for the second time in less than 3 yrs. today. Replaced all 4 sets of wheel bearings at least once, broken front axle, wiring harness on back hatch, door handle, console cover broke off completely years ago, rear defrost never did work properly, etc. Never had a car in the shop as much as this one. Loved the traction - absolutely hated the total lack of quality in this vehicle. Not feeling the love... If you insist on a Subaru, but a model from '08 or newer - they are supposedly much more reliable.
To start, the Subaru was my mother's car for almost 10 years and she had bought it barely used with less than 2000 miles on it. Though this is not my car, I have driven it for several thousand miles over the past decade. My biggest complaints with this vehicle are its atrocious steering feel, terrible fuel economy, sub par reliability, obstructive visibility, and cramp inducing seats. Other than that the Outback is pretty average in all other categories. The steering feels loose and the wheel rotates several degrees before the wheels respond. It is a feeling similar to large sedans like a Lincoln Town Car, or offroad capable SUVs like a Jeep Wrangler. If the steering was looser for offroad purposes I would not mark it down, but the Outback is not capable of tackling anything more than a dirt road. The owners manual also warns you that it is not designed as an offroad vehicle. As a result, the car feels a lot heavier and less nimble than other vehicles in the same size category. Second, fuel economy is terrible. It averaged 17 in the city and 26 on the highway for average fuel economy of 22 mpg. This is 2 mpg better than the epa rating, but still worse than contemporary RWD V8s or AWD cars with similar power. Speaking of the AWD, it takes a huge toll on the suspension and steering elements after 10 years. We had to replace a part of the front axel shaft and cv joint as it had worn down and was creating a grinding noise at highway speeds. Parts like that should not wear out in under 60k miles. All other cars we have owned have not had any mechanical failures until reaching over 100k miles. This car was also subject to the Takata airbag recall and the dealer says that we will need to wait another 6 months before it can be fixed after waiting a year already. The final issue is the interior comfort and design. The materials of the interior are mostly cheap hard plastics with a few soft touch panels. The seats were as uncomfortable as you could get in a car. I would develop pain in my lower back and legs after driving or riding in it for about an hour. It is the only car I have experienced this even though I have done 5-11 hours non-stop (except gas) in other vehicles. Blind spot visibility is also poor as the front head rests and side pillars make it difficult to see anything out of the back seat side windows if you are backing out of a parking spot or checking the blind spot. To conclude, the 2006 Subaru Outback 3.0R is a very average wagon that I did not look forward to driving.